Mnozil Brass: Seriously Funny, Whimsically Brazen

Mnozil Brass
The Rivard Report

By Adam Tutor

Serious in sarcastic wit, chops in high-octane performance, a mastering in stage presence and riotous physical humor-attributes not commonly associated with your average musical ensemble. Yet these brass are not brash when they claim that “no tone is too high for us, no lip is too hot, no music is too inferior.”

The proverbial curtain of the Aztec Theatre arose to unveil an ensemble that is at best fantastically comical, and at worst fantastically comical (to borrow the off-kilter charm that suffuses their sarcasm). Decorating the stage last Thursday, Mnozil Brass comes in no shortage of shapes and sizes, colors and disguises.

Suits ranged from red velvet three-piece sans jacket, to turquoise blue with high water pants and a vest made of comic strip clippings. Three trumpets and three trombones plus a tuba equals euphonious ecstasy for these brass-aholics, and no one man was short on wit or wondrous whirlwinds of sound from their bent and branded and forged anew horns.

A reprieve from the humorous onslaught was rarely given during the two and a half hour exclamatory expedition (save for the 15-minute intermission, where the smiles of audience members yet refused to leave their faces, an overflowing in reflection of but the first half of their brassified journey a la Austria).

The ladies and gentlemen of ARTS San Antonio succeeded in once again roping in a group that is internationally renowned yet locally unnoticed, in order to vivify audience members’ musical sensibilities and throw a sensational splash in their auditory palate. The troubadours have trumpeted and tromboned and tubaed across the planet, performing in playful strut from Russia to Australia and all across Europe via their humbly triumphant start at Josef Mnozil’s Tavern in Vienna circa 1992.

The success of these riffraff raconteurs is born from their ability to come at you from any angle, spitting fireballs of sound through horns while simultaneously maneuvering their bodies and funny bones in such a way that one may feel as if Dizzy Gillespie and Jim Carrey were merged seamlessly together into one magnificent brass machine. While steeped in the music of their home country (they even performed a capella a German folk song) the septet’s repertoire stateside seemingly comes primarily from movie soundtrack classics and oft obscure but nevertheless renowned pop songs.

Read the full review here.